A new parking lot in the Old Hilliard district should be completed by June 1, according to Hilliard service director Albert Iosue.

"It's an aggressive schedule," Iosue said.

But city leaders want to have it complete before the start of the annual summer concert series at Hilliard's Station Park, 4021 Main St., and other activities in the district, he said.

"We want to have it done before the first Celebration at the Station," City Manager Michelle Crandall said.

The new parking area is needed and will enhance experiences for visitors, according to Tim Kauffman, executive director of Destination Hilliard, the local organization tasked with promoting the city.

"Old Hilliard has become our community's hub for recreation, culture, history, dining, special events and entertainment for both locals and visitors alike," Kauffman said. "Fortunately, the city of Hilliard had the foresight to provide additional parking to meet the increased demand."

Bids for the project, based on an engineer's estimate of $1,085,000, are scheduled to be open March 13, and a bid could be awarded March 24, Iosue said.

However, Iosue cautioned Hilliard City Council that such an aggressive construction schedule could increase the cost of the project.

Construction is expected to begin at the start of April, and the city is requiring that the project be finished in 60 days, he said.

City Council on Jan. 27 approved the additional funding required for the project, appropriating $390,000 to add to $695,000 approved last year for the parking lot.

The 73-space parking lot will include lights, according to the city's plans. Another part of the project will involve construction of a 750-foot extension of the Heritage Rail Trail from its terminus near the Makoy Center, 5462 Center St., to Hilliard's Station Park at Main and Center streets.

Some of the paved spaces will be constructed on the north side of Franklin Street, west of Grant Street and adjacent to the Hilliard Civic and Cultural Arts Center, 5425 Center St.; other paved spaces will be added between Grant and Wayne streets, adjacent to the Early Television Museum, 5396 Franklin St., according to an early illustration of the proposal.

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